Man receives two life terms

Special
Paul F. Blevins: Man beat Danny L. Jones to death, left his body in the yard and set his house on fire in 2007.

No amount of prison time given to Paul F. Blevins could atone for what he did to veteran educator Danny L. Jones, but his actions still deserved the maximum amount possible, a prosecutor said Friday.

Judge Michael N. Annis agreed, sentencing Mr. Blevins to two life terms plus 23 years at the conclusion of a five-day trial in Richmond County Superior Court.

Throughout the trial, the near eight-hour wait for a verdict and tearful pleas from the victim's sisters for a maximum sentence, Mr. Blevins, 57, remained impassive.

"This man is a monster and a menace to society," said Mr. Jones' sister Caroline Cone.

On April 5, 2007, Mr. Blevins used a steel pipe and a section of a two-by-four to beat the 62-year-old man to death.

Mr. Blevins left Mr. Jones' bloodied and battered body in the front yard and stole several items, including the watch off the victim's wrist. He also set Mr. Jones' Tobacco Road home on fire.

Speaking to Mr. Blevins, the judge asked him what kind of person could stand over a man lying face down on the ground and continue to pound his head 12 or 14 times.

"What kind of person would do that?" Judge Annis asked.

According to trial testimony, Mr. Jones had once hired Mr. Blevins or his son to help him for a time with his birds.

The day of his death, Ms. Cone knew something was wrong. They ate dinner together nearly every night and her brother was late. She called their sister Sara Williamson when she couldn't reach him by phone.

Ms. Williamson was only minutes away from Mr. Jones' home and volunteered to go by. As she topped the hill on Tobacco Road near her brother's home, she saw the emergency lights flashing.

An investigator told her that her brother was dead.

"My brother was a good, kind and gentle man," Ms. Williamson said in court Friday.

Mr. Jones spent more than 30 years in education as the headmaster of Edmund Burke Academy and as a teacher at Hephzibah High School. He was dedicated to his profession and refused to give up on any child, Ms. Williamson said.

And he loved his birds -- anything with feathers, Ms. Cone said.

Mr. Jones started raising show chickens when he was a boy. He judged shows for several years before his death. He had about 3,000 birds when he was murdered.

Under Georgia law, Mr. Blevins cannot be paroled any earlier than 30 years.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.